ROLFING®


  

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What is Rolfing® Structural Integration? credit: rolf.org

 

Named after its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that re-organizes your posture and aligns every joint into neutral. The result is often a pain free, effortless and efficient body. 

 

Essentially, the Rolfing process enables the body to regain the natural integrity of its form, thus enhancing postural efficiency and your freedom of movement. (from rolf.org)

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More than fifty years ago, Dr. Rolf recognized that the body is inherently a system of seamless networks of tissues rather than a collection of separate parts. These connective tissues surround, support and penetrate all of the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. Rolfing Structural Integration works on this web-like complex of connective tissues to release, realign and balance the whole body, thus potentially resolving discomfort, reducing compensations and alleviating pain. Rolfing SI aims to restore flexibility, revitalize your energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body.



What are the benefits?

Rolfing Structural Integration has the ability to dramatically alter a person's posture and structure. Rolfing SI can potentialy resolve discomfort, release tension and alleviate pain. Rolfing SI aims to restore flexibility, revitalize your energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body. The genius of the work rests on Dr. Rolf’s insight that the body is more at ease and functions most effectively when its structure is balanced in gravity.

Athletes, dancers, children, business professionals, and people from all walks of life have benefited from Rolfing SI. People seek Rolfing SI as a way to ease pain and chronic stress, and improve performance in their professional and daily activities. It's estimated that more than 1 million people have received Rolfing work.

Research has demonstrated that Rolfing SI creates a more efficient use of the muscles, allows the body to conserve energy, and creates more economical and refined patterns of movement. Research also shows that Rolfing SI significantly reduces chronic stress and changes in the body structure. For example, a study showed that Rolfing SI significantly reduced the spinal curvature of subjects with lordosis (sway back); it also showed that Rolfing SI enhances neurological functioning.

 

The Rolfing® Ten-Series


The hallmark of Rolfing Structural Integration is a standardized “recipe” known as the Ten-Series, the goal of which is to systematically balance and optimize both the structure (shape) and function (movement) of the entire body over the course of ten Rolfing sessions.


Each session focuses on freeing restrictions or holdings trapped in a particular region of the body. A practitioner also maintains a holistic view of the client’s entire system during each session, thus ensuring the transformational process evolves in a comfortable and harmonious way.

 

More information is available at rolf.org

  

 

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The Ten-Series can be divided into three distinct units

Sessions 1-3


Called the "sleeve” sessions, session 1-3 strive to loosen and balance surface layers of connective tissue.


Specifically, the first session is devoted to enhancing the quality of breath with work on the arms, ribcage and diaphragm. Opening is also started along the upper leg, hamstrings, neck and spine.


The second session helps give the body a stable foundation by balancing the foot and muscles of the lower leg.


The third session typically involves a “side view” for an understanding of how the head, shoulder girdle, and hips are positionally related to one another when standing under the influence of gravity. Then, the body is addressed within the context of this new vision.

Sessions 4-7


Sessions 4-7 are referred to as “core” sessions and examine terrain found between the bottom of the pelvis and top of the head. The idea of core also includes the deep tissue of the legs for its role in support.

 


Session four begins this journey. Its territory extends from the inside arch of the foot and up the leg to the bottom of the pelvis.


The fifth session focuses on balancing surface and deep abdominal muscles to the curve of the back.


Session six seeks to enlist more support and momentum from the legs, pelvis and lower back, while the seventh session turns its sole attention to the neck and head.

Session 8-10


“Integration” is emphasized throughout the remaining three sessions, as sessionS 8-10 provide an opportunity for the practitioner to blend previously established advancements, and ones yet to be made, into the body in a way that encourages smooth movement and natural coordination.


During sessions eight and nine, the practitioner determines how best to achieve this integration, as the protocol is unique for each individual.


The tenth and final session is also one of integration, but more importantly, serves to inspire a sense of order and balance. Once completed, the wisdom of the Rolfing Ten Series will drive and support the body with health for years to come.

 


Rolfing® and the Virtuous Circle
Ed Toal, Certified Rolfer

Rolfing® Structural Integration has a reputation for providing long lasting improvement of structure and function in the human body. But why is it long lasting? When people first start with Rolfing and begin to feel their bodies changing for the better they often ask, “Won’t everything just go back to the way it was?”

It is a good question with a simple answer. No, things won’t go back. Once proper structure is in place, good function will follow because our bodies want to work well. Our bodies want to be fluid, flexible and full of energy. We just need a nudge in the right direction.

Given the chance, our bodies function properly and are structurally sound. Rolfing doesn’t try to add anything new or repair any damage. All that has to happen is for obstacles to be cleared away. Once the impediments to good function are removed, the optimal pattern of structure emerges by itself. That pattern is already there to begin with. It is your natural state. It is how your body would be if nothing bad had ever happened to it. This inherent pattern encourages proper function. When the parts are where they belong, everything works the way it should. When things are working properly, good structure is reinforced. The relationship between structure and function is circular.
This is the opposite of the proverbial vicious circle. Everyone intuitively grasps how a vicious circle works.
Something bad happens which leads to something worse happening. Negative feedback builds upon itself to produce further negative results. We see it all the time in our bodies. An ankle is sprained. A compensating limp develops. Soon a hip gets sore, the low back aches and so on. The sprained ankle inhibits proper function during walking. The poor function impacts the structure in a negative way. And around we go. Vicious circle. Luckily self reinforcing feedback loops like this can be built on positive input. These happy arrangements are called virtuous circles. Virtuous circles are also part of daily life. Healthy food choices, exercise and falling in love are just a few examples of things that produce goodness which builds on itself to make life better.
By addressing the whole body pattern instead of focusing on symptoms, Rolfing recruits the human body’s innate tendency to lengthen and balance itself in the field of gravity. This initiates a virtuous circle in which natural structural relationships allow normal function to occur. The better the structure gets, the better the function becomes. The better the function becomes, the more competent the structure gets.

And so on. Virtuous circle. As the positive results build upon themselves we get stronger and more resilient. We find ourselves capable of things that seemed daunting before. We break free from the rut of old habits and discover joy in routine tasks that used to seem a burden. So, no, things don’t just go back to the way they were. They keep getting better.

All this good news is based on a few assumptions of course. We will take for granted that some high quality physical activity is in the mix. So keep up the good work with your Pilates. Rolfers have always gravitated toward Pilates for its well balanced, sane approach to fitness. The enemy of both structure and function is repetitive motion. Doing anything over and over again without doing something else to balance the effects will quickly convert your healthy virtuous circle into its vicious twin. So again, Pilates is your friend. Here at Studio One the structural integration is baked right in from the beginning. As fine a system as Pilates already is, it becomes especially potent under the direction of Paul and the other instructors. As a Rolfer himself Paul has been able to advance the application of Pilates toward realizing the goals of Rolfing structural integration beyond the limits of either method alone. Stay tuned for some exciting breakthroughs.